Friday, April 30, 2010

Someone's Having a Birthday

And it's the daughter!
A Presents 5
Audrey is a very special daughter. I've always admired her confidence and her social conscience. She's also bright and pretty---but I'm biased: I'm her mom.
A Presents 4
Part of her fourteenth year was brilliant, and part was really difficult. We're all wishing her a happy and HEALTHY year of being fifteen.
A Presents 6

Friday, March 05, 2010

Ravelry St. Patrick's Day Swap

packed st. patrick's day swap box '10

My package went out today! It was very exciting. I am a TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE procrastinator. I have family Christmas gifts in various places in the house from the last 3 years. Yet I LOVE a well packed box. This is a nice one.

Now I'm looking forward to getting the one someone made for me---guilt-free, because MINE IS IN THE MAIL!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Gumpaste Poppies #1

These are my latest gumpaste flowers. They are what Wilton calls a "Fantasy Flower," the heart cutter is used to make petals, which are ruffled with the ball tool and laid out in cupcake wrappers in sets of four petals. I colored them to look like anemonies or poppies. They went on my "finale cake" for my last class in the Wilton Fondant and Gumpaste series on Sunday.

In a way this cake kind of sums up the last couple of days for me. Anemonies mean fragile. John's Grandma fell and broke her hip last Thursday. She passed away Monday after surgery. She was 101. It took an awful lot of years to make her fragile, and even time didn't dim her mind. She was a strong character, and a family favorite. Poppies mean consolation. The family could use a little of that. We're going to miss her. This was the final cake. And now Grandma is gone. It's going to take a while to get used to that.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Post Valentine's Day

Audrey and I are taking the Wilton Fondant and Gum Paste class at our local Michael's. Really it is probably too easy. I think it should probably be taken between the first and second classes, and I've had the first three. I wanted to incorporate all the elements for the first class cake into something I could be proud to photograph and add to my portfolio. So I bought the gum paste flowers kit, and spent my TV time last week teaching myself to make flowers. By the end of the week I was getting pretty good results. During the opening ceremony of the Olympics, I sat down at the coffee table with Audrey and we made all the flowers for her cake.

Here is mine:
Wilton Fondant / Gumpaste Class

And a close-up of the flowers:
Gum Paste Flowers

And Audrey's cake:
Audrey's Valentine's Day Cake

And her close-up:
Close-up Audrey's Wilton Fondant Class Cake

I think she did a really good job. She made it as a Valentine's day present for the boyfriend.

Something I didn't get pictures of yet was the orchid shrub John got me for Valentine's Day, which is entirely worthy of it's own blog picture. They are truly impressive.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Karmic Smackdown

I don't know if it was just me or the whole family, but we had a run of bad happenings yesterday, all discovered in the same hour in the middle of the day. Audrey missed the shuttle bus from her Metals class at Mark Morris H.S. to her Ceramics class at RA Long H.S., so she walked home (which is between the two) in the rain. The mail came as we were walking out the door to take her back to school, and I received a $287 ticket from a red light camera in Portland (we were there a couple of weeks ago and I was lost and looking at street signs and didn't even see the red light.) As Audrey and I were pulling out of the neighborhood, we noticed some a**hole had vandalized James' Jetta and smashed in the two front, side windows ($200 apiece to have fixed.)

Knowledge Bowl had their third meet last night, and for the third time this season the Varsity team placed second behind Mark Morris, and the JV team placed not last. That part of the day went surprisingly well, except for the part where John had to drive the Jetta with clear vinyl shower curtain duct taped where the windows should have been (actually, one of the Seniors decided to drive himself, and three other players bailed and went with him.)

Today marks one week on the Medifast diet for me. In case you aren't familiar with it, for 5 small "meals" a day I have my choice of bars (edible,) and other dehydrated food which is reconstituted with water, including pudding (somewhat edible,) soup (just barely edible with lots of added salt,) shakes (gritty and unpleasant,) or oatmeal (really, truly, unpleasantly inedible, but I don't like the texture of cooked oatmeal.) Then one meal a day I may have "Lean + Green," meaning a serving of lean protein and some kind of leaves. That meal is great, and I look forward to it all day. Unpleasant though it may be, I have lost 5 pounds in the first week. I ran into an aquaintance last weekend I hadn't seen in a while, and after being on the diet since September, she has lost 47 lbs. Sigh. I told John I would do it for 4 months. . .yuck.

I am working on knitting my first sweater. I started small----kids' size 7 or 8, for the latest Afghans for Afghans campaign. I'm using a kit from KnitPicks, and it was all going just fine until I got the first sleeve done according to the directions and went "Hmmmm....that's awfully short." The problem with just adding more rows is that the silly thing is striped, and to keep it in pattern where it joins the body I would have to commit to two more stripes, which might be too long, plus I bound off 10 stitches where it attatches to the body.

I am also in the Ravelry St. Patrick's Day swap. I'm stalking my partner on-line (hard, since she didn't list a Flickr account or a blog) and trying to put together a good surprise box for her. I had ordered a good selection of green yarn ahead of time only to find out she prefers her fibers to be machine washable (darn, I have to keep the alpaca.) I went by the bead store today and picked up a couple Celtic charms and some really nice Malachite. I just need to settle down and get stuff done.

Actually, I should probably get off-line and get some other stuff done.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


My presents aren't wrapped. My Christmas tree has been out on the porch for two weeks. But I made this:

First "Wedding Cake"

I'm kind of proud of it. In a moment of not-thinking-clearly I signed up for the third part of the Wilton cake decorating classes at Michaels in December. I wasn't thinking that the tiered wedding cake would be due the Tuesday before Christmas. But it was, and I made it.

The family requested a cake that could be eaten, not one that was covered in fondant or "CriscoCream" frosting (Crisco, powdered sugar, and clear artificial vanilla, yum,) so that's why it's chocolate.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


If my blog were a Tamagochi Pet it would have died already from neglect. After a good start, I fell off the wagon and it just seems hard to get back in the habit of posting, even though I really enjoy blogging.

First of all a crafting update so I can post a picture to make it look interesting:

Preemie Hats I

After sending off a pair of mittens and a baby blanket to Afghans for Afghans for their current campaign, I joined a Ravelry group which is making hats for premature babies at Mary Bridge Hospital in Seattle. Making them takes hardly any time at all, I can churn out 3 every two days just in TV time without really trying. I should probably knit for my own family---but let's face it, no one in my household has a head so small that I can make a hat in a couple hours with less than 50 yards of yarn. (Thank goodness for that actually----that would be a seriously pin-headed deformity.)

Family updates:

The family (minus Audrey who stayed home sick) went to Seattle last Sunday to see KISS in concert. Fun, actually. They may be old, they may not be the best or cleverest band, but they put on a good show. There were flames in 4 different colors, fireworks, rising platforms, a spinning drum stage, and plenty of kitchy stage stunts. I even recognized a few songs.

I am knitting and coaching the Knowledge Bowl team at the kids' high school. Knowledge Bowl was cut from the school budget, and in order for RAL to have a team, I volunteered to coach it. Instead of using a school bus we are car-pooling the team to meets (meaning John and I drive them in our vehicles.) It's fun hanging out with the smart kids essentially playing really hard trivial pursuit. The varsity team even took 2nd place at their first meet, only one point behind the rival high school from Longview.

John is working and practicing with his band for gigs at the family practice dept.'s Christmas party, and a private party at a yacht club in January. He wants to buy a banjo, preferrably an electric banjo.

James had a jazz band concert in the new theatre at the community college on Tuesday. His bass playing was quite good, and it was the most pleasant school concert I have ever been to. He has his driver's license, and is actually driving the '95 Jetta we got for him back and forth to school. I discovered that insuring a teenage boy is every single bit as economically painful as everyone tells you it's going to be--our payment doubled. He took his SAT's earlier this month, he has great grades, he's doing his Senior Project a year early, he's one of the two best players on the Knowledge Bowl team, and he plays a lot of World of Warcraft.

Audrey has been struggling with being sick. I think she's up to 20% absenteeism for the school year now, but it's all been legitimate. It's hard to keep up when she is taking Ceramics and Welding which are a series of projects that have to be completed in a certain amount of time, and all honors/advanced classes for the rest of her schedule. She's trying very hard, and doing admirably well. She also has a steady boyfriend (and having a teenage daughter with a boyfriend, like insuring the teenage son, is every bit as bad as people tell you it will be---as much as I denied it up until now.) She's president of her freshman class and is working on organizing a clothing drive to benefit the kids at her former middle school, and is alternate on the Knowledge Bowl team (and I'm glad to have her. . . she's the only girl, and gives some much needed relief to the clouds of testosterone that hang over our practices.)

Thanksgiving will be had at home with just the four of us, which I rather like. We will then observe Black Friday as the official start of the holiday season (not the day after Halloween like some people.)

And we still have two naughty dogs (though there haven't been any misadventures since the pocupine incident of October 15,) and Bob and Norman.